Monday, March 07, 2011

The Link Between Sexual Restraint and Emotional Well-being

3/6/11, in Monroe
Ross Douthat, in yesterday's nytimes piece "Why Monogamy Matters," writes:
  • study from the Centers for Disease Control revealed that American teens and 20-somethings are waiting longer to have sex.

  • "Female emotional well-being seems to be tightly bound to sexual stability — which may help explain why overall female happiness has actually drifted downward since the sexual revolution."
  •  "A young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished."
  • There is a "significant correlation between sexual restraint and emotional well-being, between monogamy and happiness — and between promiscuity and depression." Douthat cites the recent book Premarital Sex in America by sociologists Mark Regnerus )U. of Texas) and Jeremy Uecker.
Christianity Today has an interview with Regnerus here. Regnerus is asked: "How does pornography change the sexual marketplace, for women as well as men?"

He responds: "It takes power away from women as a group, because it provides men with another sexual outlet. Some will say that Playboy has been around a long time, but today's porn is not like that. It puts one bedside in high definition. Individual women notice it in their relationships, especially in marriage. But even before marriage, it's still at work, eroding the value of what she has that he wants. Now she has to compete with virtual sex partners as well as other women.

I used to think young women would have the last laugh here—that men would come to understand that sex is not like porn. I'm not so sure about that anymore. Speaking as a sociologist, you can't form enough accountability groups to erase the effects of porn on the relationship pool. It's not just about helping Joe Christian steer clear of this thing he'd like. It colors more than we think."